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sunnuntai 11. syyskuuta 2016

Dominica, Cool Facts #136

<=135. Barbados                                                                                                          137. Jamaica =>

1. Dominica Name Origins

Dominica means Sunday in Latin. On November 3th in 1493 Christopher Columbus arrived on the island of Dominica as the first European and it was Sunday so Columbus named the island as Dominica. The Island Carib people inhabited the island and resisted the Spanish successfully preventing the permanent settlement of the Spanish on the island. 

The Caribs refused of all kinds of co-operation and rather jumped from the cliff to the sea than submitted to the conquerors. The pre-Columbian name for the island was "Wai'tu kubuli" used by the Caribs, which means "tall is her body". 
Columbus stamp

2. Colonization of Dominica

French colonizers
1635 The French took Dominica under control, but they had to abandon it after the continuous Carib resistance.
1660 The French and British agreed to leave Dominica alone and to the control of the Caribs. Many indigenous people fled to the island from the neighboring islands as the Europeans settled on their home islands.

British control
1761 The British conquered the island and then another time in 1783. The British defeated the rebelling Caribs and prevented the conquest attempts of the French. The British brought slaves from Africa to the banana plantations.

British colony
In 1896 Dominica became a British Crown colony. In 1903 a 15 square km reservation area was established for the Caribs in the north-east coast of the island. In 1958 Dominica joined the British West Indies Federation, which was dissolved in 1962. Dominica got autonomy in 1967.

In 1978 Dominica became an independent republic.

Linen market in Dominica in the 1770s

3. Sisserou Parrot

The Dominican flag is the only flag with a parrot in it. Both Catholicism and Socialism are symbolically represented in the exotic symbol. The Sisserou parrot (Amazona imperialis) can be only found in Dominica. It lives around the mountainous rainforest near the Morne Diablotins and the Morne Trois Pitons National Park.

Sisserou parrot features: 
- extremely loyal and monogamous, couples will remain together their entire life
- shy birds, which are difficult to approach
- travel in pairs or very small groups
- occur mostly at elevations of 600-1300m above sea level
- only 250-350 sisserou parrots are left in the world
- biggest threats to the parrots are hurricanes, habitat loss and illegal animal trading

Symbolism in the flag: 

Cross = the colors of the cross represent Catholicism and the Holy Trinity. The colors also represent the three ethnic groups of the island.
Stars = the ten stars represent the ten municipalities of Dominica, which all are named after Catholic Saints

Sisserou parrot (copyright George H.H HueyI

4. Boiling Lake and Dominican Nature 

The Boiling Lake in Dominica is the second biggest hot lake after Frying Pan Lake in New Zealand. Dominica is known for its beautiful nature and the island has been nicknamed the "Nature Isle of the Caribbean" for its unspoiled nature. 

The island is still being formed by geothermal-volcanic activity and the Boiling Lake is an evidence for this fact. Dominica has lush rainforests with many rare plants, animals and birds. Because of the volcanic activity the soil of Dominica is very fertile and suitable for agriculture. 

Boiling Lake

5. Ku Klux Klan Coup Attempt

Eugenia Charles became the Prime Minister of Dominica in 1980. Eugenia was the Prime Minister until 1995 becoming the longest continuously serving female Prime Minister ever. She was also the first female lawyer in Dominica. 

In 1981 Eugenia faced two coup attempts. First Frederick Newton, a military commander of Dominica organized an attack on the police headquarters. The coup failed and Newton was executed in 1986 and the five soldiers, who had been found guilty in the attack were sentenced to life in prison. 

The second coup was organized by a group of Canadian and American mercenaries, who belonged to white supremacist and Ku Klux Klan groups. They wanted to restore former Prime Minister Patrick John to power. The coup attempt "Operation Red Dog" failed and the men who had plotted the coup were sentenced to spend three years in prison. 

Eugenia Charles


1493 Columbus arrived in Dominica as the first European. Carib people were the local inhabitants of the volcanic and fertile island
1635 The French took control over Dominica but the Caribs continued their resistance and forced the French to leave
1660 The French and British agreed on leaving Dominica to Carib control
1715 The first French settlement was established  in Dominica to get tropical timber
1761 The British conquered the island for the first time and later in 1783 for the second time. They defeated the local people for good and prevented the French takeover attempts. Slaves were brought to the British banana plantations from Africa
1800s Black people were allowed to participate in local governance, which increased the tensions between the black people and the white landowners
1896 Dominica became a crown colony
1958 Dominica was attached to the British West Indies
1967 Dominica got autonomy
1978 Dominica got independence as a republic with Patrick John as Prime Minister
1980 Eugenia Charles became the first female Prime Minister in the Caribbean
1981 American soldiers, who belonged to the Ku Klux clan, tried to overthrow Eugenia but the attempt was stopped
1995 Eugenia Charles dissolved the army 

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